A public consultation took place in Saltash on June 16 and 17 to highlight potential new areas for green community spaces in the town.

The Saltash Town Team, working alongside Saltash Town Council, is leading on the project having secured Town Vitality Funding for a feasibility study from Cornwall Council.

Councillor Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for economy said: “Town Vitality funding is helping places examine their town centres and the continuing role they can play in supporting community and business activity.

“We’re really interested to see how communities like Saltash explore opportunities for reimagining the way in which their town centres are used. Town Vitality funding is essential to kick start these ideas and concepts and the forthcoming public consultation will give people the opportunity to give their views on this new green community space project for Saltash.”

Architecture by Studio Hive have been commissioned to design the community spaces which look to cover four main sites; Central Fore Street, Eastern Gateway (Brunel House), Western Gateway (Victoria Gardens), Alexandra Square Car Park and Belle Vue East Car Park.

The plans for the area will see new signage and way-finding, improved materials and street furniture, adaptable spaces for events and improved walkability and active travel options which look to strengthen biodiversity and climate resilience within the town.

Additionally, the project looks to host events, offer improved facilities for outdoor relaxation and bring the community together as well as support Saltash in becoming a more successful retail and leisure destination.

One-hundred and seventy people turned up over the two-day event to have their say and view the designs that Architecture by Studio Hive had created based on a previous study undertaken in the spring.

Barry Brooking, a local resident, attended the consultation event.

He explained: “I was pleased to participate in the public consultation at Saltash Guildhall organised by the Saltash Town Team and Town Council ‘To Design a Green Multi-Use Space in the Retail Heart of the Town Centre’. It is a worthwhile ambition, and I hope that it was well supported. If we as a community do not take the opportunity to give our opinion as part of the consultation, we cannot blame those who make appropriate decisions with which we disagree.

“Having attended the event, may I share with our community my views, which includes relevant research on the topic.

“The topic is, of course, not new. I remember discussing it with my late father many years ago, when he was a Councillor and Mayor. There are a number of very difficult problems.

“Our proximity to our ‘big neighbour’ Plymouth means that its large shopping centre can offer a wider choice and often more competitive pricing. The effect is that our town centre shops cannot always offer what we need. I try very hard to shop locally, but it can be impractical.

“Our geographical position is probably as difficult as it could be for such an ambition. Fore Street and adjacent roads and car parks are incredibly steep with no proper flat squares, probably the worst option for a multi-use space in a town centre. The ideal location appears to be like so many European town squares ~ a good size, flat area, enclosed by shops and buildings.

“I remember that many years ago Liskeard was chosen by a TV channel to improve its retail town centre. As I recollect, the changes/improvements were only ‘cosmetic’ mainly increased awareness and events, hanging baskets, planters and benches. I happened to come across some of the production team. I recommended they should develop the old cattle market square as a best option.

“I believe that our best option for Saltash is to develop Alexandra Square to meet the criteria.

“I accept that it is not perfect. It is sloped, not a complete square, and would not be done without some difficulty as it would include the excellent Memorial Peace Garden and the Cornwall Council Car Park. However, it could be possible to negotiate and transfer/replace what is in the current spaces. Such a bold step and changes might not be ideal, but I would suggest it is the only option that would make a realistic and workable solution to the proposal.

“In ‘A Shell Guide to Cornwall’ in 1960 Sir John Betjeman described our Saltash story as ‘sad’. He opined that the Tamar Bridge meant that ‘few people turn off to see what is left of Saltash’. Things do not appear to have changed much in over 60 years! Indeed, the Bridge could well have had an adverse effect for local people’s shopping.

“Bus as an Essanian I am sure of one thing: while wishing success to this project, I believe, irrespective of its circumstances. a town should be judged by the quality of its community. In this respect, both in Peace and War, Saltash can be judged positively and well with or without a green, multi-use space in the heart of the Town Centre.”

The plans and feedback forms are available to view at Saltash Library Hub and online at www.saltash.gov.uk/consultations.php

At the event there was also an opportunity to view the Saltash Waterside Coastal Communities exhibition which demonstrated the possible plans to combat the increasing risk from tidal flooding across the Waterside area in addition to improving the appearance of public areas.

Peter Ryland, chair of Saltash Town Team said: “It was great to see so many people at our consultation events at the Guildhall, but if you couldn’t make it, we still want to hear your thoughts before the consultation closes on July 14. Please have a look at the website or visit the library and let us know what you think by completing a feedback form at the library or via the town council website.”

Consultation on proposals for a new multi-use community space at the heart of Saltash town centre has been extended and will now close on July 14.

Following this consultation event, the project team will provide their recommendation at the end of September 2023. Saltash Town Council will then seek to gain further funding to support the project in its progress.

To find out more visit: https://sites.google.com/view/saltash-community-space/home or go to: www.saltash.gov.uk/consultations.php or email [email protected]

To find out more, visit: www.saltash.gov.uk/consultations.php or email [email protected]